Results 1 to 8 of 8

Thread: Overwinter outdoors?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2020
    Location
    WA
    Posts
    5
    Thanked: 3

    Default Overwinter outdoors?

    Hi Everyone!

    I have three 17 week-old boys that we have been rehabbing. I volunteer with a local wildlife refuge and for some reason we ended up with an abundance of orphaned or abandoned baby squirrels this year. I've had 8 come my way, another I know took care of 15. Its been crazy.

    The three I have are brothers and seem to be very healthy and active. We currently have them in a large ferret cage in our living room and let them out each day to run around, but this has become miserable. Two of them will bite any chance they get, not really aggressively but it still doesn't feel great. They've also gotten very restless, pacing, back flips, one chews on the bars all the time. I feel terrible. The plan has always been to release them but not until spring since they were fall babies and it gets pretty cold here in Eastern Washington state.

    I am wondering if I can overwinter them outdoors. We have a covered porch that is pretty sheltered. We could put a heat lamp out there too. Any suggestions? We moved the cage outside for one sunny day last weekend but they just seemed so cold and I felt bad for them.

    What do I do? I hate seeing them in the cage all day. I know they want to be out running and jumping and being free squirrels, but I also don't want to accidentally hurt them.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Planet Earth
    Posts
    16,619
    Thanked: 11112

    Default Re: Overwinter outdoors?

    Quote Originally Posted by kristalee01 View Post
    The plan has always been to release them but not until spring since they were fall babies and
    it gets pretty cold here in Eastern Washington state.
    I believe you have already answered your own question...
    They were raised indoors, putting them outside now would not allow their systems to acclimate to the colder temps.
    Step-N-Stone
    State Licensed
    Wildlife Master Rehabilitator


  3. Serious fuzzy thank you's to stepnstone from:

    kristalee01 (11-21-2020)

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2020
    Location
    North Carolina
    Posts
    450
    Thanked: 218

    Default Re: Overwinter outdoors?

    Do you have a spare room that could be squirrel proofed?

    What is the typical low overnight temperature in December and in January?

    We have one member that has purchased an outdoor, heavy duty heating pad which she puts in the squirrel's outdoor day house.

    https://thesquirrelboard.com/forums/...Planning/page2

    She provides a link to the heating pad she purchased in post #30 in the thread

    She lives north of Chicago.

  5. 2 TSBers pass along the fuzzy thanks to Rock Monkey:

    Buddy (11-21-2020), kristalee01 (11-21-2020)

  6. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2020
    Location
    illinois
    Posts
    266
    Thanked: 74

    Default Re: Overwinter outdoors?

    This is what I was planning with Buddy.

    I'm planning to keep him in his release cage during the day (which is what I've been doing for a few weeks now, provided it hasn't been cold much here yet) and I plan to bring him in when it's very cold/windy and also at night.

    @stepnstone: you think this is a bad idea??

    "They were raised indoors, putting them outside now would not allow their systems to acclimate to the colder temps."
    Animals are magical....Thank you everyone who tries to help them, save them tirelessly...

    Please visit "My Buddy" thread to know more about Buddy: https://thesquirrelboard.com/forums/...65309-My-Buddy

  7. Serious fuzzy thank you's to Buddy from:

    kristalee01 (11-21-2020)

  8. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2020
    Location
    illinois
    Posts
    266
    Thanked: 74

    Default Re: Overwinter outdoors?

    Here's the heating pad I got and we put it under Buddy's nest box. It doesn't make it hot or warm; but rather keeps it toasty/cozy, which is I think what they need. I tested it a few times when it was pretty cold at night and even without Buddy in it, the inside/bottom of the nest box was still toasty (lightly warm).

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07HML9QJ5
    Animals are magical....Thank you everyone who tries to help them, save them tirelessly...

    Please visit "My Buddy" thread to know more about Buddy: https://thesquirrelboard.com/forums/...65309-My-Buddy

  9. Serious fuzzy thank you's to Buddy from:

    kristalee01 (11-21-2020)

  10. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2020
    Location
    WA
    Posts
    5
    Thanked: 3

    Default Re: Overwinter outdoors?

    We don't have a lot of days that it gets much below freezing temps throughout the winter. The area we live in is the weird desert part of WA state. I think we will try the heating pad so that they can have a place to stay warm and bring them in at night.

    Thanks everyone!

  11. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    West of Montreal, QC, Canada
    Posts
    4,993
    Thanked: 1458

    Default Re: Overwinter outdoors?

    The trick is definitely to place it under the nest box, otherwise it would be too much of a temptation for chewing - especially considering how much squirrels love to chew plastic/rubber kind of things. Also make sure they have no oaccess to the wire.

    A well insulated nest lined withlots of polyfil might even be worth considering.
    "In the midst of our lives we must find the magic that makes our souls soar."
    My sweet Scooter, darling Hami, beloved gentle Simon... YOU are the ones who brought that magic in my life. You've changed the way I see all things around me now and, because of you, I want to be a better person. This is not goodbye, my sweethearts. You be at peace, your work here on earth is done... now you are finally, truly free. Until we meet at the Bridge again, just remember that I will always love you.
    The greatness of a nation can be measured by the way it treats its animals.
    - Gandhi -

  12. Serious fuzzy thank you's to Scooterzmom from:

    Buddy (11-21-2020)

  13. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2020
    Location
    North Carolina
    Posts
    450
    Thanked: 218

    Default Re: Overwinter outdoors?

    Quote Originally Posted by Scooterzmom View Post
    The trick is definitely to place it under the nest box, otherwise it would be too much of a temptation for chewing - especially considering how much squirrels love to chew plastic/rubber kind of things. Also make sure they have no oaccess to the wire.

    A well insulated nest lined withlots of polyfil might even be worth considering.
    Good points. The heating bed referenced is reinforced specifically for small critters, but there is nothing that is completely squirrel proof if they became determined.

    If the reinforced, heavy duty heating pad could be plugged into a GFCI outlet that would provide an extra margin of safety. Given that it is semi outdoor type location, a porch, hopefully there should be one out there in accordance with electrical code.

    Yes, the wire definitely needs to be covered, preferably with something that has some weight and which is chew proof: pavers, hardware cloth, stones, a 2" x 6", etc. are some possibilities to consider.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •